2021 Genesis Invitational Sleepers and Longshot Picks

Bubba Watson tees off on the first hole during the first round of the PNC Championship golf tournament, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

  • The PGA Tour season continues with the Genesis Invitational from Riviera CC on Thursday, February 18th
  • Bubba Watson has won this event three times and is criminally underpriced at +5000 in the outright market
  • Read below for analysis of the event and our favorite sleepers and longshot plays

It’s Riviera week on the PGA Tour as the most loaded field so far in 2021 tees it up in Los Angeles, California. Eight of the top-10 players in the world are taking part in this event, with only Tyrrell Hatton and Webb Simpson declining to show up.

As a result, this week’s odds board is absolutely loaded at the top, which means there is no shortage of value to be found in the mid and bottom tiers. This tournament is known for producing world class winners, as Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson have each raised the trophy over the last four years. Watson, is actually a three-time winner of this event, and is criminally underpriced in the outright odds.

2021 Genesis Invitational Odds

Golfer Odds to Win Top-10 Odds Top-20 Odds
Bubba Watson +5000 +450 +188
Marc Leishman +7000 +500 +200
Kyoung-Hoon Lee +25000 +1600 +600

Odds taken Feb. 15th at DraftKings.

Riviera has some of the hardest fairways and greens to hit on Tour, so in addition to our usual ball striking stats we’ll also be weighing around the green numbers more than usual. At 7,322 yards and a Par 71, this track features seven Par 4’s that measure at least 450 yards, so we’re going to want to target players who excel on those types of lengthy holes as well.

Bubba Eyes a Fourth Title

We were on Bubba two weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and although he didn’t threaten the top of the leaderboard his underlying stats were excellent. He gained 4.2 strokes with his ball striking and another stroke around the green. Watson started slow out of the gate, but rounds of 68, 69 and 65 over the final three days are a good indication that his game is sharp.

He made just three bogeys at TPC Scottsdale all week and has ridiculous course history at Riviera. Over the past seven years he has three victories here and two more top-15 finishes. He ranks fourth in this field in ball striking over the past 50 rounds, 18th in driving distance and 24th in Par-4 scoring on holes over 450 yards. He’s also gained strokes around in the green in each of his past seven measured events, and Poana greens just happen to be his best putting surface.

Bubba Watson Last Seven Starts at Riviera

Year Result
2020 CUT
2019 15th
2018 1st
2017 W/D
2016 1st
2015 14th
2014 1st

Also working in his favor is the fact that left-handed players have owned this course over the years. All three of Watson, Phil Mickelson and Mike Weir have won this event multiple times, with Watson looking to become the third ever four-time winner at Riviera.

Pick: Bubba Watson to win Outright (+5000)

Leishman Locked In

Another player with a strong track record at Riviera is Marc Leishman, who just happens to be in excellent form. The Aussie is fresh off an 18th and 4th place finish in his past two events, and has gained 3 strokes on approach in all three of his 2021 starts.

He has two top-5 finishes at this tournament over the past five years and fits a couple intriguing trends. Every winner but one over the past 29 years had at least one top-22 finish at some point at the Masters (Leishman owns three of those), and eight of the last 10 winners had a 15th place finish or better at this event in at least one of their previous four appearances.

Pick: Marc Leishman to Win Outright (+7000), Top-10 Finish (+500)

Look Out for Lee

Our final target, Kyoung-Hoon Lee, fits the latter of those two trends. The Korean followed up a 25th place finish at the Genesis in 2019 with a 13th place showing in 2020. He’s fresh off a career best runner-up finish in Phoenix, and has two top-20 results in four 2021 starts.

Lee’s ball striking and around the green play were off the charts at TPC Scottsdale as he gained 2 strokes off the tee, 2.4 on approach, and 5.9 around the green. Over the past month, he leads the field in strokes gained around the green, and ranks 31st in Par 4 scoring.

Pick: Kyoung-Hoon Lee Top-20 Finish (+600)

Chris Amberley

NFL NBA MLB NHL Golf Sport Writer & Editor


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